Ahaziah has sent for Elijah, angry that Elijah has said he was going to die because he consulted Baal-zebub rather than the One True God. Two groups of soldiers have been killed by fire from heaven as they attempted to bring Elijah down from his hilltop perch. The third group was led by a man who was smart enough to show respect for Elijah and, therefore, the God Elijah represented. He pleaded with Elijah, "O man of God, please spare my life and the lives of these, your fifty servants” (II Kings 1:13b, NLT).
As a result, the men were unharmed and the “the angel of the Lord said to Elijah, ‘Go down with him, and don’t be afraid of him.’ So Elijah got up and went with him to the king.
“And Elijah said to the king, ‘This is what the Lord says: Why did you send messengers to Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, to ask whether you will recover? Is there no God in Israel to answer your question? Therefore, because you have done this, you will never leave the bed you are lying on; you will surely die.’
So Ahaziah died, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah. Since Ahaziah did not have a son to succeed him, his brother Joram became the next king. This took place in the second year of the reign of Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah” (II Kings 1:15-17).
Ahab, Ahaziah’s father, died during a battle in which he and Jehoshaphat’s armies joined forces to fight the Arameans. Through the prophet Micaiah, the Lord told Ahab that he would be killed if he chose to go to war, but Ahab listened to the hundreds of false prophets he kept around him rather than listening to the true prophet of God. So upon Ahab’s death when his son Ahaziah began to reign in Israel, Jehoshaphat was still on the throne in Judah.
Then Jehoshaphat died and “his son Jehoram became the next king” (I Kings 22:50b) in Judah. Meanwhile, we have Ahab’s son Ahaziah dying off without a male heir and Ahaziah’s brother Joram becoming king in Israel.
Back in Judah, “Jehoram’s brothers – the other sons of Jehoshaphat – were Azariah, Jehiel, Zechariah, Azariahu, Michael, and Shephatiah; all these were the sons of Jehoshaphat king of Judah. Their father had given each of them valuable gifts of silver, gold, and costly items, and also some of Judah’s fortified towns. However, he designated Jehoram as the next king because he was the oldest. But when Jehoram had become solidly established as king, he killed all his brothers and some of the other leaders of Judah” (II Chronicles 21:1-4).
Unlike his father before him, Jehoram was an evil king. He “was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years” (II Chronicles 21:5). While the rulers of Israel came from different families, the family lineage of Judah’s kings remained consistent, whether they were good or evil. Why?
Because “the Lord did not want to destroy David’s dynasty, for He had made a covenant with David and promised that his descendants would continue to rule, shining like a lamp forever” (II Chronicles 21:7).
Remember, when Solomon’s son Rehoboam, the newly appointed king after Solomon’s death, foolishly threatened the people of Israel with harder labor and heavier taxes, they rebelled against him and he ended up ruling only a remnant of the people, namely the tribes of Benjamin and Judah, collectively known as Judah. The rest of the tribes remained together as Israel.
Good or bad, the Lord allowed someone from David’s lineage to sit on the throne. Each of these men had an opportunity to shine “like a lamp,” but not all chose to do so.
Choices, folks. I keep saying it. Each of us has the chance to shine for God’s glory. We’re all going to be remembered for something. I pray it’s for shining the light and love of Jesus.
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates